OK, not everyone. I’m here with a few of my broadcast brethren at Missouri Western State in St. Joseph, Missouri, sitting in my new but barren dorm room. It’ll be a fun three nights, I’m sure. The team arrives this evening.
The schedule sets up like this: A walkthrough Tuesday morning and a joint practice against the Chiefs at 3:15 p.m. local time (and yes, it’s open to the public. Info here on kcchiefs.com.) The Cards will then have another walkthrough Wednesday morning and a practice indoors on their own Wednesday afternoon. Thursday is a travel day and then comes a preseason game against the Chiefs in Kansas City — about an hour away — Friday night.
We’ll have the coverage of the week on azcardinals.com. I’ll have a story on the homepage in a bit on Stewart Bradley.
(P.S. Watch the video from last night’s game to see the portion when Kevin Kolb came off the field and supposedly “dissed” John Skelton like so many claim. I see a guy who is hurt and not noticing anything, especially Skelton and Skelton’s hand off to the side. I’m sure John knows that. To suggest Kolb blew off Skelton on purpose is ludicrous.)
Tags: Chiefs, John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, training camp
Posted in Blog | 94 Comments »
Coach Ken Whisenhunt was asked about the idea that in training camp, NFL defenses usually start out ahead of the offenses. Whiz generally agreed, and acknowledged that it’s the case this year with his team.
“If you are asking me from a statistical standpoint, I would say (stats) would probably bear that out,” Whisenhunt said. “Do I think that’s always the case? No. This year with our team, I think you can subscribe to that. The defense has been together in the system and they are going through the install and they played well at the end of last year. With the quarterbacks it’s a little different because we went through the offseason working on a bunch of fundamentals and getting them up to speed on the offense and they haven’t operated like our defense did. And we have some new guys on the offensive line.
“I think the defense is ahead of the offense. It’s been that way a lot of times. Defense is more reactionary where offense is more learning and being in the right spots. It will end up balancing itself out hopefully.”
– Whiz said he and the coaches probably won’t discuss playing time for Sunday until Saturday.
– If things go according to plan, Whisenhunt said running back Beanie Wells would be able to play in the Oakland game, which would be the Cards’ first preseason home game. There is a long time before then, however, and nothing is set in stone. Wells is still on track to start practicing some next week.
– Whisenhunt said he still hadn’t talked to head athletic trainer Tom Reed about injury updates, so nothing new on what might be up — if anything — with running back William Powell and safety Adrian Wilson, each of whom came out of last night’s work. Nose tackle Dan Williams apparently left the workout too at one point (I hadn’t noticed) and Whisenhunt was asked about him too. Whiz said Williams told him last night he was OK.
Tags: Adrian Wilson, Beanie Wells, Dan Williams, Ken Whisenhunt, training camp, William Powell
Posted in Blog | 8 Comments »
Some notes and quotes from Ken Whisenhunt’s lunchtime presser in advance of the lone night practice of camp:
– Quarterback Kevin Kolb took part in the morning walk-through and he will practice tonight in the Cards’ lone night practice at Lumberjack Stadium, although he will be limited. “The issue is it tightens up a little bit standing around, so I have to keep it warm,” Kolb said. “I did the best I could today and we’ll see what happens, keep progressing every day.”
– Whether running back Ryan Williams plays Sunday will likely be determined that day. Williams said he’ll tell the team how he feels, and Whisenhunt said Williams and head athletic trainer Tom Reed have developed a good enough relationship during rehab that it works that way. “I’d like for him to get in for a couple of plays, but he may not feel that way,” Whisenhunt said. Because there are no inactives in the preseason, Williams could dress and then they can make a call on the fly if they wanted to.
– We already knew running back Beanie Wells could come off the PUP list next week in Kansas City, but Whiz said tight end Jeff King — on the PUP list with his quad injury — could also be back soon. King could start practicing next week as well, Whisenhunt said, and if not then, then the week of the Oakland game.
– A reminder that because newly refurbished Lumberjack Stadium only has seating for 1,000 fans, admission into the stadium for tonight’s practice (starts at 7:15 p.m.) will be limited to those 1,000. Fans will still be welcome to watch in the areas surrounding the field outside of the chain-link fence at the stadium, although fans are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or portable seats.
Tags: Jeff King, Kevin Kolb, Ryan Williams, training camp
Posted in Blog | 6 Comments »
The first week is over, and what stuck with me after today’s Red-White practice (while I thought about it on my drive home to see the family) was John Skelton’s comment that there was a long way to go. Cliche, sure. But it’s truth. Take away walkthroughs, which are limited in their value, and the Cards had exactly three practices before today. Did the offense or the quarterbacks wow today? No. But we’re a week away from the first of five preseason games. There’s a long, long way to go.
– I know everyone wants to make assessments of Skelton and Kevin Kolb after today. Coach Ken Whisenhunt even said Friday he expected that to happen. But Whiz also said today there would be no snap judgements. He talked about dropped passes, about missed assignments. Bottom line, and I’m sure I’m sounding like a broken record, but this will come down to preseason games. Something tells me no one is going to reference Red-White whenever the regular-season starter is named.
– I thought Michael Floyd looked pretty good today. It’s early, but that would be nice to have him emerge. He made a couple of catches and you can see why his big body works in tight coverage, blocking out the defensive back.
– Cornerback A.J. Jefferson got a lot of action today. He gave up some catches but made some other plays. He’s intriguing. He’s kind of been lost in the CB discussion with William Gay signing and Greg Toler coming back and Jamell Fleming getting drafted.
– With the NFL in the middle of using replacement officials while contract negotiations go on with the regular officials, one possible replacement would be a woman, who was working today’s Red-White practice. I didn’t get her name, but Mike Jurecki got a picture.
– The abductor injury to running back Javarris James could cause some roster movement. It’s not that I thought James necessarily was going to make the roster, but James now won’t play against the Saints in all probability, and Beanie Wells was already going to miss that game. I’m not sure they’d want to use Ryan Williams either, given their desire to be conservative. So that leaves just LaRod Stephens-Howling, Alfonso Smith and William Powell. Not that Powell can’t do it — remember, when the Cards lost Williams and wanted to protect Wells last year, Powell had an astounding 29 carries in the final preseason game (and then was cut the next day.)
– A crowd of 14,500. Simply amazing. I ran into former Cardinals wide receiver and kickoff returner MarTay Jenkins (1999-2002) who looked over the throng for autographs and said, “Damn, it was never like this for us!” Which I can say since I was covering the team back then, it wasn’t.
– Finally, there seemed to be a difference of opinion between Williams and Patrick Peterson about whether Peterson would have made the tackle on Williams during his 44-yard run. I managed to get a shot of the moment of contact. You make the call.
Tags: A.J. Jefferson, Alfonso Smith, Beanie Wells, Greg Toler, Jamell Fleming, Javarris James, John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, LaRod Stephens-Howling, MarTay Jenkins, Michael Floyd, Patrick Peterson, Ryan Williams, training camp, William Gay, William Powell
Posted in Blog | 29 Comments »
I’m not a big fan of doing any play-by-play or recaps of practice, because in the end, it just doesn’t matter. Each play is a snapshot, with little or no context. But, with the Red-White practice tomorrow — which will basically be a series of drives, offense versus defense, with play calls like it’s a game — the Cards worked on red zone and two-minute drills today. It provided some highlights.
– Tight end Rob Housler made a couple of nice catches at the back of the end zone, one time banging into the pad on the lower upright. Michael Floyd couldn’t haul in a high jump ball in the end zone, but later in the two-minute drill caught a pass while tippy-toeing toward the sideline. DeMarco Sampson beat Greg Toler in the end zone for a touchdown.
– But on the defensive side, Patrick Peterson broke up one pass over the middle, while Kerry Rhodes managed to control a bouncing, tipped pass to finally nab it for an interception.
– Interesting that, in the two-minute drill in the defense’s dime package, the defensive backs were Rhodes and Adrian Wilson at safety, and then four cornerbacks: William Gay, Peterson, Michael Adams and A.J. Jefferson. Toler worked with the second dime unit. It’s early, but these are the things you notice.
– The second unit of the offensive line during the two-minute drill were, from left tackle to right tackle, D.J. Young, Senio Kelemete, Ryan Bartholomew, Chris Stewart and D’Anthony Batiste. Eventually, Bobby Massie was put in at right tackle, Batiste slide to right guard, and Scott Wedige at center. I’ve said it a few times, but I think the wait for Massie to start will be awhile.
– Running back Alfonso Smith blew up linebacker Sam Acho on a block during the two-minute work. Smith has worked hard to earn a spot on the team, which I think is pretty assured at this point.
– If you are coming to the Red-White, don’t forget to come early. All the details are here, but last year, there were about 13,000 fans on hand.
Tags: A.J. Jefferson, Adrian Wilson, Alfonso Smith, Bobby Massie, Chris Stewart, D'Anthony Batiste, D.J. Young, DeMarco Sampson, Greg Toler, Kerry Rhodes, Michael Adams, Michael Floyd, Patrick Peterson, Rob Housler, Ryan Bartholomew, Sam Acho, Scott Wedige, Senio Kelemete, training camp, William Gay
Posted in Blog | 9 Comments »
It’s a beautiful morning for training camp, with the Cards’ first practice this afternoon. No, I don’t know if it will rain.
(Well, I’m guessing, knowing this place, it will rain, I just don’t know when and whether it will push us inside the Walkup Skydome. The dome is back open to the public.)
– I was surprised like many when I first heard Adrian Wilson was going to get an extension, a little less so when the details emerged. I’ll say this: Knowing Adrian as I have, which is the length of his NFL career, he’s one of the few guys that I think would have taken what is essentially a pay cut so well. One of the things I like about Wilson is that he has never hid the fact that a) he is honest about leaving a legacy and b) he has been consistent about wanting to be a Cardinal for life. Obviously, the Cards knew that when they approached him, and that was to their advantage. When Wilson got his last extension, back in 2009, he had wanted to get re-upped sooner, but he stayed patient, knowing the team was holding off until he was down to one year left in his deal, and it paid off.
I don’t know how long Wilson will play for the Cards, whether he really has a chance to get all the way to 2015. The NFL is a year-to-year business, especially for players who will turn 33 during the season. Teams and players differ about when the end should come 99 percent of the time. But given the circumstances, I am keeping my fingers crossed that Wilson doesn’t end up a Brian Dawkins or John Lynch, that the last game he plays in the NFL is as a Card.
– Wilson made it clear that one of the reasons he was willing to make a move was to set a precedent and send a message about young players like Patrick Peterson and Daryl Washington. I think it’s a two-way message. To the players, it’s about investing in their current team, and a willingness to be a career Card (which is impressive, although players rarely have the Wilson mindset when it comes to that.) But I also think Wilson will make it clear to the team that, hey, I’m cool if you need some money back, as long as you put it toward other important players to keep them around.
– I get so many questions about Beanie Wells and his health and whether the Cards will sign another veteran running back. Again, I don’t see it happening right now and judging by how coach Ken Whisenhunt addressed Beanie’s PUP placement yesterday, I don’t get any sense of urgency in that regard. What else can I say about Beanie except we’ll see how it plays out. Personally, yes, I would have said — had you asked me when the news of his surgery first happened — I expected him back by now. But as long as he (and Ryan Williams, for that matter) is ready to roll by the regular-season opener, then the rest probably doesn’t matter.
– If you’re looking for some pictures of the Cards reporting to Flagstaff yesterday, click here.
– Because the Cards are one of the first teams to get started in training camp, I’m expecting an influx of national media early on. Doesn’t hurt that there’s a quarterback battle. Here we go.
Tags: Adrian Wilson, Beanie Wells, Daryl Washington, Patrick Peterson, training camp
Posted in Blog | 8 Comments »
As players head to Flagstaff today — I’m going too, of course — there will be some waiting. Physicals are this morning so stories and interviews won’t come until late afternoon and early evening. I’ll have a bunch of stuff then. The expectation is that the Cards will be basically healthy as camp starts. Only tight end Jeff King figures to start off on the sideline; I believe Beanie Wells will be ready as the Cards have expected the whole time.
While waiting, feel free to download the new Cardinals app — it’s free! — now that it’s officially available for iPhone, Android and RIM devices. All the info is right here.
Tags: Jeff King, training camp
Posted in Blog | 3 Comments »
This time of year, everyone is always asking me, among other things, what player do I think is going to break out during whatever season is approaching.
(And when I say everyone, it’s mostly when I am doing radio interviews, although some fans will ask from time to time.)
There’s always the matter of defining just who can be a breakout candidate. To me, it’s a guy who has only been in the league a short time. Usually it’s a guy who just completed his rookie season, although it could be a player who has been around a bit longer. There was a point early on when Adrian Wilson was my pick a couple of seasons in a row. Alan Branch was a popular choice. This year, it’s tough to get away from a couple of potentials: tight end Rob Housler and running back Ryan Williams. Williams, of course, has to prove himself healthy. Housler has to battle a lot of guys at tight end to make sure he gets playing time.
But others are intriguing. Sure, Patrick Peterson is a Pro Bowl punt returner, but he still has to prove a lot at cornerback — and having him take a big step forward there is certainly possible this year. The Cards wouldn’t mind if either Dan Williams or David Carter really established themselves at nose tackle.
It’s not always simple, though, not like Steve Breaston going from eight catches in 2007 to a 1,000-yard receiver in 2008. Still, this is the time of year when you mull such possibilities.
P.S. I will be doing a pre-camp live chat tomorrow — Tuesday — at 11 a.m. Arizona time (that’s 2 p.m. in the East) right here. We can talk breakout guys or whatever you might want. We’re only a week away.
Tags: Adrian Wilson, Dan Williams, David Carter, Patrick Peterson, Rob Housler, Ryan Williams, Steve Breaston, training camp
Posted in Blog | 18 Comments »
Listening to the radio this morning on the way to the gym, I heard about some of the NBA player moves and how one guy got crossways with a coach because he didn’t come into training camp this past season in shape. The player thought training camp was when you should get in shape. The coach, obviously, thought camp was time to practice and that being in shape when a guy showed up was a given.
That’s certainly how it is in the NFL these days.
Once, the preseason was six games long and teams would spend weeks on end at camp. I remember talking to some of the long-time athletic trainers with the Cards and them talking about spending eight weeks at training camp. Ugh. But in those days, players often had offseason jobs to make enough money and camp was indeed to get in shape. These days, players make enough — even the guys on the fringe of the roster — to be able to dedicate themselves year-round to staying in shape. It’s a must.
(There’s a tough grey area for the guys who are on the bubble every year — no guaranteed salaries, remember, and you only get paid the significant money during the regular season, not camp — but they have to grin and bear it to have a chance to make it in the league.)
It’s not easy all the time. Dedication is a must, and you have to do it the right way. I was mulling it over, and off the top of my head, I could recall nose tackle Dan Williams, defensive lineman Nick Eason and wide receiver Stephen Williams all admitting they were out of shape in one way or another heading into camp last year after the lockout. We won’t get into ex-Cardinal Deuce Lutui.
Look, it’s not rocket science to figure out that the coaching staff would love to have the players around more than they are in the offseason. That’s how coaches are. The collective bargaining agreement says otherwise. But when most guys are driving forward on their own — Cardinals receiver Andre Roberts acknowledged the other day at Larry Fitzgerald’s camp that guys know “this is a year-round thing” — anyone doing otherwise won’t be in a good place once it’s time to go to Flagstaff.
Which, by the way, is only eight days away.
P.S. Speaking of workouts, click here for some pictures I shot in Minnesota of the Fitz camp.
Tags: Andre Roberts, Dan Williams, Nick Eason, Stephen Williams, training camp
Posted in Blog | 24 Comments »
You know, just in case you weren’t aware that the Cardinals’ first training camp practice is a mere 13 days away, that the Red-White practice is only 16 days away, well, Beanie Wells has a video out to remind you the Cards’ first game of 2012 — the Hall of Fame tilt against the Saints, who won’t have their coach and might not have their quarterback — is only 24 days away.
Dang. Where does the offseason go?
(And how much will Beanie be able to do in camp at that point?)
Tags: Beanie Wells, Hall of Fame game, training camp
Posted in Blog | 7 Comments »